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Companies planning share sales are increasingly turning away from London and instead looking at Nasdaq Inc.’s Nordic markets, according to the New York-based exchange operator.
Lauri Rosendahl, the chief executive officer of Nasdaq Nordic in Stockholm, says that “more than 10 percent of all the companies that we now talk to about a potential listing are non-Nordic. A year ago it was maybe 5 to 7 percent.”
The development comes as businesses grow increasingly worried about the fallout of Brexit as Britain’s planned departure from the European Union moves closer, with no path to a proper exit deal in sight.
Rosendahl says interest is coming from firms based in Ireland, among others. When it comes to sectors, Rosendahl points to health-tech, software games and fintech companies as examples of industries that all see a better future in the Nordics than in London.
Last year, Zutec Holding became the first Irish company to list in Stockholm. Its CEO, Brendan O’Riordan, said back then that Brexit played a role in the decision, as did the fact that Sweden has a “tech-savvy” investment community.
London Stock Exchange Group spokesman Christopher Loscher declined to comment.
Nasdaq is currently locked in battle with Euronext NV in its quest to buy Norway’s main stock exchange, Oslo Bors. As things stand now, Nasdaq is backed by shareholders representing just over 35 percent of Oslo Bors, while Euronext has slightly more than 50 percent. Both bidders say they’re committed to completing a deal, with Euronext recently raising its offer to underscore its point.
Nasdaq already operates exchanges in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Reykjavik and argues that makes it a better strategic fit for Oslo Bors. Euronext says it would make Oslo its Nordic hub with a view to expanding in the region.
Listings on Nasdaq Nordic slowed in the second half of last year as volatile markets gave some companies cold feet. In 2018, there were 83 listings done via the exchange operator, compared with a record 115 a year earlier.
Rosendahl says Nasdaq Nordic now has a “great pipeline” of companies considering listings this year.
“The only hesitant sector is real estate, particularly in Sweden, which faces the greatest outlook uncertainties due to concerns about the housing market,” he said.
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